Carolina Hurricanes vs Florida Panthers: Odds, series predictions and best bets for NHL Eastern Conference Final
Florida and Carolina will meet in the Eastern Conference Final for the first time after both teams made it out of the second round in five games. A series win for the Hurricanes would playing for their first Stanley Cup since winning it all back in 2006, while a win for the Panthers would put them in the final for the first time since 1996. The Hurricanes won the season series 2-1.
Series Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
- Carolina Hurricanes -140
- Florida Panthers +120
- -1.5 Games: +145
- -2.5 Games: +290
- +2.5 Games: -650
- +1.5 Games: -250
- -1.5 Games: +200
- -2.5 Games: +450
- +2.5 Games: -380
- +1.5 Games: -175
- 4 Games: +600
- 5 Games: +265
- 6 Games: +200
- 7 Games: +200
To get a sense of each team's strengths and weaknesses, let's take a closer look at their respective statistics and compare them head-to-head. Here's a tale of the tape for the upcoming series:
Carolina has had an easier road as the top seed in the Metropolitan Division, while the Panthers have had to take out the two best teams in the Atlantic Division, including the team with the best regular season record of all time. Carolina is a more well-structured team, but so were the Bruins and Maple Leafs.
Will Florida find their scoring touch?
Carolina ranks fourth in the playoffs on offense with 3.55 goals per 60 minutes after ranking 20th in the regular season, while Florida ranks 7th with (3.2 per 60) but offense isn’t a problem for the Panthers, they’ve just played some good defensive teams. Florida ranked 3rd in goals per 60 during the regular season. The teams ranked among the top three in shot attempts and expected goals, but the Panthers have a much better power play. The Hurricanes’ power play was mediocre in the regular season and that’s carried over into the playoffs.
Sebastian Aho, Martin Necas, Seth Jarvis, and Teuvo Teravainen are good players for the Hurricanes, but the Panthers have more elite offensive talent throughout their lineup, and they have Matthew Tkachuk, who is a top-five player in the world right now. Not to mention Aleksander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart, and Sam Bennett. Barkov has just two goals in the playoffs and this team has a lot more to give on offense. Florida has the edge on offense.
Can Carolina stop the Panthers’ attack?
Carolina’s biggest edge is on defense, as they grade out as a far more competent group without the puck than the Panthers do, and it’s been a hallmark of their game. Florida is still finding their identity as a hockey team and their penalty kill has a success rate of just 65.8 percent in the playoffs. They’ve relied on goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky a great deal, too. Florida can play good defense, obviously, but their strategy won’t be as sound as Carolina’s is on a game-to-game basis. The Hurricanes ranked third in goals against, first in shot attempts and expected against, and they had the second-best penalty kill in the league during the regular season. Florida was much more average on defense, but they’ve contained teams (Boston and Toronto) with a lot more talent than Carolina.
Which team has the goaltending edge?
The two-time Vezina Trophy winning goaltender has been playing up to his big contract in these playoffs after starting the postseason on the bench. The 34-year-old has posted a .918 save percentage in 10 games and ranks first in goals saved above expected among the goaltenders remaining. In fact, only Igor Shesterkin was better. Bobrovsky is three years removed from his last good season, though, and if he stays hot, there will always be concerns that he will revert to being a below average starter. But, for right now, the Panthers should feel good about Bobrovsky’s current form.
Hurricanes’ goaltender Frederik Andersen is 5-0 in the playoffs so far, and he’s saved about a goal per 60 minutes above what an average goaltender would have, but he hasn’t faced a lot of shots and the Panthers are likely going to create a lot more chaos in front of his crease than the Devils or Islanders did because they have the best of both teams. Florida has grit, skill, and speed, and Carolina hasn’t faced a team with all those qualities yet in the playoffs. Bobrovsky faced a lot of shots versus Boston and Florida so he should be ready for what the Hurricanes are going to send his way. It’s almost too close to call, though.
Who will win the series?
A best-of-7 series can result in a range of outcomes, from a clean sweep by one team to a full seven-game series that could go either way.
Last month we had hockey handicapper So Money Sports on the VSiN Hockey Betting Podcast and he talked about how there is a lot of variance in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series. That’s played out this season, as the underdog has a 9-3 record in Game 1 through the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and I’m hoping that continues. I won’t be betting on Florida to win the series, as my model suggests a fair price is around -117 in favor of Carolina, but my model is showing value on the Panthers in Game 1. By my estimation, Florida has a 47.2 percent chance of winning Game 1 and, therefore, should be priced closer to +112, not +120.
Bet: Florida Panthers (Game 1 Moneyline) +120 at DraftKings
All bets tracked via third party app Betstamp.